David Benjamin Sherry first came to notice for his photographs of the American West, made in part as rigorous tributes to iconic landscape photographers such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston but printed in candy-colored hues using traditional color darkroom techniques. For his new show “Pink Genesis,” on view at Salon 94 in New York City until July 28, Sherry works strictly in the darkroom, making color photograms that incorporate his own body, along with sheets of printed acetate, cardboard stencils and his dog, Wizard. The bright color in “Pink Genesis,” like in his monochromatic landscapes, comes from manipulating the three filters of a color enlarger, and the titles in the series include the numeric enlarger settings for cyan, magenta and yellow. The result is a precise and vivid exploration of a process with strong roots in the history of photography, beloved by photographers such as Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy and contemporary photographers including Adam Fuss, Walead Beshty and Bryan Graf.
Speaking about his landscape work in an interview, Sherry describes his attempt to bring a new perspective to the genre. “I felt it necessary and natural to inject a more queer and colorful vision of American Western photography, as I found there to be a void in the epic yet short and often straight male dominated, photographic history.” He describes a desire to develop “my own queer history in this and other genres of photography,” by making images that “raise questions about the subject of photographic history, [and] ask questions about the lack of queer vision within the history of photography,” an aim he is continuing here.